Dukes of Hazzard: The Movies

In keeping with tradition, every successful television series eventually spawns a reunion movie (or two). These ones were as formulaic as ever, with the Dukes returning to Hazzard County to stop an evil land developer from taking over Uncle Jesse's farm. It was good to see the "boys" back in action again though, if for no other reason than to reminisce.

Movies with the Original Cast

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The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!

Year: 1997
Cast:  John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, James Best, Denver Pyle, Sonny Shroyer
Director: Lewis Teague
Writer: Gy Waldron

What happens when a buxom, cigar-chompin' businesswoman named Mama Max blows into Hazzard County and threatens to pave over the local swamp and plow under Uncle Jesse's farm to build a theme park? Anyone with half a brain knows it's up to Bo and Luke, those good ol' Duke boys, to save the day.

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The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! was first broadcasted April 25 1997 on CBS. In case you forgot , cousins Bo and Luke Duke were a pair of redneck Robin Hoods, battling with Boss Hogg and his henchman, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, to protect the good people of fictional Hazzard County, with a minimum of three car chases per episode. Since its network demise in 1985, the Dukes have been--in the immortal words of their theme song--straightenin' the curves and flattenin' the hills in syndication. The ex-CBS series is the Nashville Network's highest-rated show.

Now the Dukes are back in a two-hour movie. To save their beloved town, not to mention their ornery Uncle Jesse , the boys challenge Mama Max (Stella Stevens) to a race. If the General Lee, the Dukes' supercharged, Dixie-playing '69 Charger, can outrun Mama Max and her 'Double Zero', the amusement park plans are scrapped. Expect plenty of car chases.

Most of the original cast (including the General Lee) is back for the reunion with a few exceptions. Sorrell Booke, the scheming Boss Hogg, died in 1994; Waylon Jennings is not returning as the show's narrator (aka the Balladeer); and Flash, Rosco P. Coltrane's beloved pooch, is in doggy heaven. The theme song, originally croaked by Jennings, will instead be crooned by Wopat and Schneider, both of whom have pursued musical careers since Dukes was canceled.

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Hazzard in Hollywood

Year: 2000
Cast: John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, James Best, Sonny Shroyer, Rick Hurst
Director: Bradford May
Writer: Gy Waldron

The Dukes of Hazzard - Hazzard in Hollywood, a new television movie reuniting stars John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach and other cast members from the action packed hit CBS comedy series "The Dukes of Hazzard," was broadcasted Friday, May 19 2000 at 8 p.m. on the CBS Television Network.

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This rollicking story chronicles the Dukes and friends as they roll into Hollywood in an attempt to raise fast cash to build a much needed hospital in their home town of Hazzard. As the action begins, the folks of Hazzard County have for several years sponsored an annual fund raising hoedown to raise funds for a Hazzard hospital. At this year's hoedown, the Hazzard citizens are propositioned by a crooked businessman, Ezra Bushmaster (Nicolas Coster), who challenges them to raise $500,000 in ten days and he will contribute the remaining $3 million they need for the hospital if they succeed, provided they name the hospital after him.

Raising the money quickly seems to be an impossible task until shady music promoter B.B. Bascomb, (Jay Acovone) steps in and reminds the stunned denizens about the country music tapes they own featuring now famous singers from past Hazzard hoe-downs. With spirits high on dreams of selling a profitable music CD, the Dukes; Cooter, Cletus and Rosco roar off to Hollywood to raise some cash - fast. The Hazzard clan does not exactly get a warm welcome in the land of sunshine. The bad guys are instantly hot on their trail, and their tapes and money are immediately stolen. However, in their adventure filled quest to get their belongings back and raise money for the hospital, they make unusual friends in unlikely places.

The Dukes of Hazzard - Hazzard in Hollywood was directed by Bradford May from a script by Gy Waldron, who created the original series, and Bob Clark. Waldron and Clark are the executive producers and Skip Ward in the producer, for Warner Bros. Television.

And then there's those other Dukes

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The Dukes of Hazzard

Year: 2005
Cast:  Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott, Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Writer: John O'Brien

Based on the late-'70s/early-'80s cheesetastic action series, "The Dukes of Hazzard" clearly has no such aspirations, content to play itself out almost exactly like a protracted episode. The changes that are made—cruder humor and language, more excessive violence—are wrongheaded and reach for the lowest-common-denominator in lethargic filmmaking. It's a major disappointment, if for no other reason than because director Jay Chandrasekhar, he of the Broken Lizards troupe (2004's "Club Dread," 2002's "Super Troopers"), is known for his expertly sly, wildly offbeat humor. Somewhere along the way, that personal flair for comedy has been siphoned to the point of virtual nonexistence.

The plot hardly matters, there to vaguely string together a series of car chases, each more over-the-top and decidedly grisly in nature than the last. For what it's worth, not-so-good "good old boys" Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke Duke (Johnny Knoxville) are back to their hell-raising ways, eluding the authorities while setting out to stop slimy commissioner Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) from destroying their moonshine-making Uncle Jesse's (Willie Nelson) farm and demolishing the whole of Hazzard County. Also along for the ride is buxom Daisy Dukes-wearing cousin Daisy Duke (Jessica Simpson), helping out her family the only way she knows how: with her generous cleavage.

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The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning

Year: 2007
Cast: Jonathan Bennett, Randy Wayne, April Scott, Willie Nelson
Director: Robert Berlinger
Writer: Shane Morris

It seems that all bad movies deserve a direct-to-DVD sequel, so why not a sloppy prequel to the film version of The Dukes of Hazzard, purporting to tell the "beginning" of the Duke boys story?

Along this 95-minute ride we'll find out where the General Lee came from (dredged from a lake), why everybody hates Boss Hogg (because he's a money-grubbing jerk), and how Daisy got so hot (she just had to take off her glasses and give her wardrobe a trim). If these are burning questions that keep you up at night then, by all means, purchase this DVD immediately.

The rest of you, well, you aren't going to find a whole lot to enjoy here. Both Bo (Jonathan Bennett) and Luke (Randy Wayne) were clearly cast for their hair color, not their acting ability, and even poor April Scott, as Daisy, doesn't make much of an impression except for when she's in her underwear. Willie Nelson (as Uncle Jesse) is just about the sole person to return from the last film. Harland Williams acrually makes a good Rosco P. Coltrane, and Joel Moore (still known best for those eBay commercials) is probably the film's highlight as a shop-class Cooter. But Christopher McDonald as Boss Hogg? That borders on heresy!

Whether careening through a highschool in a dune buggy or moonshinin' in the fixed-up General Lee, this prequel never misses an opportunity to throw us a dirt-spewing vehicle, an anonymous topless girl, or both. That's all well and good, I guess, but I don't think anyone should have to sit through an hour and a half of what passes for plot just to see a few silly car chases.

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